27 Apr 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm Room SG1, Alison Richard Building


What do images do? Picturing Africa and Islam

Dr Massimilano Fusari (Centre for Media Studies, SOAS)
Dr Branwyn Poleykett (Visual Plague, CRASSH)

Chairs: Dr Christos Lynteris (Principal Investigator, Visual Plague, CRASSH)

This seminar discusses the performativity of images: what can be pictured, represented, or done through images, and what cannot? Case studies will be drawn for the work of Massimilano Fusari and Branwyn Poleykett, followed by a chaired discussion by Christos Lynteris. 

Massimiliano Fusari is a digital consultant, scholar and results-driven visual strategist with established education and experience on the Muslim World. As a multimedia journalist he worked from Morocco to China, bridging academia with the media industries to produce interactive online projects. Since 1994, Massimiliano has been focusing on the politics of representation of the Muslim world. In 2002, he launched his career as a photojournalist and multimedia consultant for private, public and third sector assets. After a series of funded collaborations with IOM and UNESCO, he pursued a PhD at the University of Exeter (2013), assessing, both in theory and practice, the passage from the ‘photograph’ to the ‘Meta-Image.’ In his 2014 AHRC Post-Doctoral fellowship at the University of Durham, he further developed the PhD findings using a research on the Cairo tentmakers to finalise the notion of ‘Post-Produced Cultures.’ The interactive multimedia project is available online on CairoTentmakers.com, and his latest exhibition will remain at the Brunei Gallery of London till June 20. He currently teaches at SOAS and the module, entitled Contemporary Visual Cultures of the Middle East, explores the nexus between theory and practice in today’s cultural and media industries, with a specific attention to multimedia storytelling and digital communication. Massimedia.com is his online laboratory. More information can be found on: http://www.linkedin.com/in/massimedia. 

Branwyn Poleykett is a post-doctoral researcher in the ERC-funded 5-year project Visual Represtations of the Third Plague Pandemic, led by Dr Christos Lynteris. Her research focuses on the historical and anthropological study of science, public health, and medical research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her PhD thesis examined the postcolonial history of the sanitary regulation of commercial sex work in Dakar, Senegal. Before joining CRASSH Branwyn worked with the Anthropologies of African Biosciences research group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her postdoctoral research project was based on fieldwork conducted in Tanzania and Uganda and examined the connections between the postcolonial Africanisation of scientific research and contemporary arrangements of transnational scientific capacity building. Taking the practical field course as an archive of scientific practice and global health in Africa, the project explored how different capacities in science are gained, distributed, experienced, and lived through time. As a researcher on the Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic project Branwyn will collect and analyse visual materials relating to plague in Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Madagascar and Angola. 

Christos Lynteris is researching plague photography on a regional and global scale as the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded 5-year project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic. His work investigates visual representations of outbreaks in China between 1855 and 1959, with a particular focus on the Hong Kong bubonic plague outbreak of 1894 and the Manchurian pneumonic plague outbreak in 1910-11. In comparing the two, his research focuses on the entanglement of visualisation strategies and biopolitical and geopolitical aspects of the epidemics. Of particular interest is the depiction of Chinese migrant workers (so-called “coolies”) as carriers of disease, and the representation of “coolie” urban environment and housing as an imagined source of infection. On a global scale Dr Lynteris' research engages in a comparative analysis, focusing on regimes of visibility and invisibility of plague. The work focuses on the inter-constitution of epistemological and ethical questions and strategies pertaining to how the causes and effects of plague are made visual. Key to the study, is the exploration of the implications of this complex nexus of symbolic and performative practices on ways in which we today visualise epidemics such as Ebola and bird flu. 

All are welcome. No registration required.

For more information or to sign up to our mailing list, please contact the convenors Jonas Tinius (jlt46@cam.ac.uk) or Clare Foster (clef3@cam.ac.uk) and visit out platforms:



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